A fire onboard a strategic nuclear submarine has been brought under control by emergency workers. The blaze started when a fire broke out in a dockyard in northern Russia. Eleven fire crews, a helicopter and a boat managed to localize the fire.
"Work on completely extinguishing the previously localized fire on the submarine is still underway," said the head of Russia’s Emergency Ministry Sergey Shoigu at the Federal Operational Headquarters meeting on Friday. "At the moment, up to 200 gallons of water are being pumped on to the submarine."
Authorities say that the wooden scaffold around the submarine caught fire, which then spread to the outer skin of the vessel. However they have ruled out the possibility of the fire getting inside the submarine.
Russia’s Emergency Ministry confirmed that the scaffold caught fire as a result of procedural violations during repair works. They also say that radiation levels are normal at the moment and there is no threat of radioactive contamination in the area.
“Ahead of putting the submarine in for scheduled repairs, the reactor was shut down, and right now is in a secure condition,” a spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Defense said.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, the Yekaterinburg submarine will be fully repaired in a few months.
Earlier today, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev instructed Deputy Premiers Rogozin and Igor Sechin to investigate what caused the fire. In addition, he requested all necessary measures be taken to restore the submarine. A crew of military prosecutors is working at the scene investigating the cause of the fire.
No one was seriously injured during the fire. Altogether nine people have been hospitalized due to smoke inhalation and are likely to be discharged from hospital by tonight, reports RIA Novosti.
The nuclear submarine “Yekaterinburg,” built in 1984, was undergoing repairs at a dock in Murmansk Region and was raised from the water in a dry dock at the moment that the fire broke out.